Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin

Iraq’s brand new F-16 Block 52 makes first flight in weird, exotic camouflage color scheme

Iraqi Air Force’s first F-16 Block 52 made its maiden flight from Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, assembly plant in a weird camouflaged color scheme.

On May 2, the first of 36 ordered Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 52 jets destined to the Iraqi Air Force made its first flight from Fort Worth, Texas.

Noteworthy, the aircraft sports a quite weird two-tone grey camo, much different from the desert color scheme used by the Iraqi planes prior to the 2003 invasion which destroyed what remained of the Al Quwwa al Jawwiya al Iraqiya, and the light grey paint that was used on the Hellfire-equipped Cessna 208Bs or the Mil Mi-25 gunships.

Iraq is building their Armed Forces again. Along with F-16s and T-50s trainers, Baghdad is also receiving Mi-28 Night Hawk helicopters while the procurement of 24 AH-64E Apache attack choppers in being evaluated.

F-16 Iraqi Air Force

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

 

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F-22 Raptor stealth jets to get automatic backup oxygen systems to prevent new hypoxia-like symptoms

More than 24 months since the last hypoxia-like incident occurred, the U.S. Air Force has decided to equip its F-22s with a backup oxygen system.

The Raptor fleet will soon receive a brand new backup oxygen system as part of multiple contracts awarded to Lockheed Martin (worth 30 Million USD) DefenseNews reported.

F-22s belonging to the 3rd Wing from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, have already received the new system, that will be implemented by the rest of the radar-evading planes by the second quarter of year 2015.

Being automatic, the new system does not require pilot intervention; a big improvement from the previous one that had to be activated by the pilot, which might be quite difficult, if not impossible if the latter was experiencing hypoxia-like/oxygen deprivation symptoms.

Because of the mysterious problem that plagued the stealthy fleet to such an extent the radar-evading aircraft were grounded back in 2011 following a deadly incident involving an Alaska-based, the Pentagon initially grounded the F-22s, and then, after lifting the flight ban, it restricted Air Force Raptors to fly near a “proximate landing location” in order to give pilots the possibility to land quickly if their planes’ On Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS) fail.

In May 2012, two 1st Fighter Wing “whistleblowers” appeared on CBS 60 minutes to explain why they were “uncomfortable” flying the Raptor (before changing idea few days later).

The installation of the new automatic backup oxygen system is not the only upgrade the U.S. Raptors will get in 2015: according to DefenseNews, along with advanced electronic warfare protection and improved ground threat geolocation, F-22s should also get the ability to carry AIM-120D and AIM-9X advanced missiles.

In April 2013, the plan to integrate the Visionix Scorpion helmet-mounted cueing system (HMCS), that would have made the F-22 capable to use HOBS (High Off Boresight System) air-to-air missiles as the AIM-9X, filling a gap against other current and future stealth planes in close air combat, was cancelled following the cuts imposed by the sequestration.

Let’s see what happens this time.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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Early F-117 stealth jets used unusual black colored drag chutes

The image in this post is particularly interesting as it shows an F-117 Nighthawk pilot deploying an unsual black drag chute.

Since later photos show white chutes used by stealth jet’s pilots, according to Lockheed Martin’s Code One, this photo was likely taken in the early years (decades…) of the Nighthawk, when the plane secretly flew, mainly at night, using all kind of tricks to deceive indiscreet eyes.

Image credit: Code One magazine

 

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Not very stealthy: first image of F-35C carrying full load of weapons (externally)

On Jan. 13, RAF Squadron Ldr. Andy Edgell flew first F-35C, the U.S. Navy’s carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, with external GBU-12s, AIM-9Xs air-to-air missiles and the centerline gun pod.

Obviously, a radar-evading plane loses some of its stealthiness with such an external payload…

Image credit: Andy Wolfe via Lockheed Martin

 

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Man charged with attempting to send tech data on the F-35 to Iran

Besides being plagued by cost and operational concerns, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 multirole, stealth warplane has been targeted by hackers, who tried to steal secrets of the Joint Strike Fighter, for years.

Most of times, cyber attackers were believed to be Chinese, collecting details that could be useful for copying what is believed to be the Western most advanced military plane.

However, it seems not only China is interested in the F-35.

DefenseNews has given the news that a man has been charged with attempting to send F-35 blueprints to Iran: Mozaffar Khazaee, a naturalized US citizen since 1991, was arrested on Jan. 9 at Newark airport, NJ, following the first flight of a trip to Tehran.

Facing 10 years in jail, Khazaee was charged for “transporting, transmitting and transferring in interstate or foreign commerce goods obtained by theft, conversion, or fraud.”

In November he had attempted to send “numerous boxes of documents consisting of sensitive technical manuals, specification sheets, and other proprietary material for the F-35,” from Connecticut to Hamadan.

The “package” contained several documents, diagrams and blueprints most of which export-controlled, that Khazaee had collect from the company (most probably Pratt & Whitney or Rolls Royce) he worked for until August 2013.

What Iran would do with such technical details is difficult to say. Maybe design an actual engine for the infamous F-313 Qaher stealth fighter joke jet?

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

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